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Ad Tech and Native Advertising Glossary

Mar 16, 2015 / by StackAdapt



Ad tech can be a confusing world full of strange terms and abbreviations, so we've provided you with a cheat sheet for commonly used terms. 


Behavioural Targeting:

The type of targeting where advertisers target specific users based on their previous online behaviour, such as browsing history or search history. This data is usually 1st party data - where advertisers collect data about users on online properties that they control (such as their own site or microsite), or 3rd party data - where the user data is aggregated by data companies and data exchanges and sold to advertisers.

Brand Safety

The process of creating an environment that is safe for the Brand during an online advertising campaign. This is achieved by running ad placements only on high quality sites, top premium placements, and high quality pages (minimum ad count, high share of voice, etc.).

Content Marketing

Any form of marketing that involves the creation and distribution of Content by brands & marketers. The Content can be in the form of articles, blog posts, videos, images, infographics, etc. High quality content either solves specific problems faced by people, or entertains and amuses them.

Content creation is usually done on the Brand or Advertiser level and distribution of Content can be achieved with help of various channels such as Facebook, Twitter, or StackAdapt.

Contextual Targeting

The type of targeting where advertisers choose the context of the page where ads will run. Example: news-related pages, travel-related pages, etc. In simple terms, the context of the page is what the page is really all about. The same website or app can have various types of pages with context related to different verticals (for example, News Site can have pages about travel, news, financials, hobbies, etc.). This is why it’s essential to be able to analyse the context of all individual pages vs. the context of the entire site (see “Keyword Targeting”).


A specific desired action on the digital property, usually the brand’s owned media property, such as a website, microsite, or an app. Conversion examples: filling in and submitting a form, purchasing a product or service, engaging with content (sharing, liking, tweeting, etc.).


The graphical / text advertisement itself. On the StackAdapt platform, the creative is the combination of text (headline and body text) and image.

CTR (Click-through-rate)

The number of clicks divided by total impressions served, measured in percentage points.

CTR = (Clicks / Impressions) * 100

For example, a CTR of 1% indicates that 1000 impressions will produce 10 clicks.

CPM (Cost per thousand impressions)

A pricing model in which advertisers pay this amount for every 1000 impressions served.

CPC (Cost per click)

A pricing model in which advertisers pay per actual clicks.

eCPM (Effective cost per thousand impressions)

The actual cost per thousand impressions, calculated after advertisers run a campaign

eCPM = (Cost / Impressions) * 1000.

eCPM is different from CPM Bid because when advertisers bid for inventory, very often they pay below their bid price (see “Second Price Auction”).

eCPC (Effective cost per click)

The actual cost per click after you run a campaign.

eCPC = (Cost / Clicks).

CVR (Conversion rate)

The number of conversions divided by total clicks served, measured in percentage points.

CVR = (Conversions / Clicks) * 100.

Frequency Cap

The maximum amount of times the user will be served Impressions. This is set on the advertiser level and used to reach more unique users (to prevent showing the ad to the same user multiple times) and also to maintain the user ad experience on the high level.


The process of targeting a specific geographical area such as country, state / province, city, postal code, or latitude / longitude. In a Real Time Bidding environment this is done by analysing the IP address associated with a bid request.


The act of displaying an ad placement (or simply an ad) on a webpage. Every page load = impression for one ad placement.

Impression & Click Trackers

A simple image pixel that can be attached to the creative to track impressions and clicks using the Advertisers's 3rd party Ad Server. For example, if advertisers want to independently track the delivery they will utilize impression trackers and click trackers and all the impression and click data will be available on another Ad Server (for example, DoubleClick or EyeReturn).

Keyword Targeting

A subset of Contextual Targeting. This is the type of targeting where Advertisers are placing ads on specific pages where certain Keywords appear. For example, if an auto maker is targeting “cars” as a keyword, then only pages with the word “cars” will have ads displayed on them.
Keyword targeting is divided into “positive keyword targeting” during which Advertisers want these specific keywords on the page, and “negative keyword targeting” when Advertisers don't want to target pages with specific keywords on them (mainly used for Brand Safety reasons, see Brand Safety).

Native Advertising

Native Ads are ads that take the shape and form of natural content on the webpage, relevant to the user experience, and clearly marked as 'sponsored'. The best Native Ads blend within organic content to become part of the user experience, while standing out enough for the user to differentiate between a Native Ad and organic content of the page.

Programmatic Media Buying

The process of buying / selling media using automated processes and technology. Programmatic Media Buying is the general term that implies minimal or no human involvement in the actual transaction of buying / selling ad placements. In simple terms, it’s the use of technology to automate processes.

Real Time Bidding

The process of bidding for an ad placement in real time by multiple advertisers. The winner serves the ad. During the Real Time Bidding process, the page loads with no ad on it, and only with the “opportunity for an ad”. The page passes valuable information (known as the “bid request”) to multiple advertisers, and based on this information, advertisers decide whether or not they want to bid for this placement. The price is determined in accordance with the “Second Price Auction”principle.


A sub-set of Behavioural Targeting. Re-targeting is the type of targeting when users are shown ads if they completed a certain action in the past (visited the advertiser’s site, clicked on the ad, etc.). Re-targeting is achieved by placing a simple text file (called a “cookie”) on the user’s browser after a special code fires (called a “pixel”), indicating a specific action. For example, the user visits the page, where the re-targeting pixel is pre-installed. This pixel then fires and places a cookie in the user’s browser. This user is added to the “cookie pool” of users. Advertisers then are able to target this “cookie pool”.

Second Price Auction

The standard for pricing bids in a Real Time Bidding environment. According to this principle, the highest bidder wins the auction, but only pays $0.01 higher than the second bidder. For example, if Brand 1 bids $5 and Brand 2 bids $8 – the winner of this auction will be Brand 2 with the clearing price of $5.01. This is the reason advertisers see eCPM (effective CPM) lower than their original bid.

Sponsored Content

Content that is promoted by Brands and Publications via paid channels such as Native Advertising or Content Recommendation widgets. This is done to increase the scale of content distribution to reach a specific audience of users.


User Interface. This is the interface that advertisers will use when running campaigns on their own.

Visibility Rate

This is the ratio of visible impressions divided by total impressions. Visible Impressions are the impressions where more than 50% of the ad placement space is visible for more than 1 second. This is the standard IAB definition.

We continually update this list, so if you feel that we're missing something, please drop us a line here.


Topics: Resources

Written by StackAdapt

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